Weekend Job Board: April 27

Habitat for Humanity of Dane County – Family Services Liaison(part-time): The Family Services Liaison will work in conjunction with the Family Services Director in support of the Homeownership Program at Habitat for Humanity.  This position provides support to the Family Services Committees, actively participates in outreach to diverse communities to inform potential homeowners about HFHDC’s homeownership program, participates in targeted recruitment of families seeking HFHDC homes, and continually strives to educate the community on the benefits of the HFHDC homeownership program.  The Family Services Liaison will also provide one-on-one support of families pursuing homeownership through HFHDC.  This position will work with potential applicants to assess readiness for homeownership and assist approved families to prepare for homeownership.  This position will work with the Family Services Director to coordinate Family Services events. This position is part-time (20 hours/week) Monday through Friday with flexibility during normal business hours.  Some night and weekend hours are required. More details here. Application due May 11.  Continue reading

Repost: Public Opinion and Discourse on the Intersection of LGBT Issues and Race

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The Opportunity Agenda has published a research report and recommendations titled Public Opinion and Discourse on the Intersection of LGBT Issues and Race:

Creating a more responsive and supportive media environment — one that conveys the movement’s values, concerns, and solutions, and accurately portrays LGBT people of color — is vitally important in breaking down the barriers that keep people apart and prevent communities of color from wholeheartedly embracing the movement’s goals. Media representations of people and issues have important effects. Research shows that depiction in the media, especially distorted portrayals, affects public perceptions, which ultimately have a real impact on people’s lives every time their fate depends on how they are perceived by others (e.g., Dong & Murrillo, 2007 or Entman & Gross, 2008). Research also provides evidence of the potential of media representation that is fuller, more accurate, and more sympathetic. Political scientist Shanto Iyengar’s influential study (among others) of the effects of television news choices on viewers’ attitudes shows that news stories about racial discrimination help reduce the tendency to blame individuals for outcomes. To the contrary, coverage of black poverty focusing on individuals rather than larger trends or forces increases the degree to which viewers hold individuals responsible for racial inequality.

Read the full article and download the report here. 

Tech Corner: Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboards aren’t just for typing papers. Save yourself time and effort by learning some easy keyboard combinations. These shortcuts help you invoke software commands without even using your mouse. The list below covers Windows OS, Mac OSX and Microsoft Word.

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Pagnia Xiong: Singer, Song Writer, Role Model

Bao Nhia Moua, Student Life intern specializing in Leadership and Involvement, reflects on how Pagnia Xiong is an empowering figure for her and the Hmong American community.

Pagnia Xiong is a Hmong American woman who speaks from her heart and shares it through music. She an inspirational leader for many individuals within the Hmong community. I look up to her, because of her determination and success in achieving her goals. She is confident when she speaks and even stronger when she sings.

At the end of March, the Hmong American Student Association (HASA) prepared our first ever “Rise to Stardom” event. We brought in two popular Hmong artists to campus. The Kong & Shu Project—brothers Kong and Shu Lor—did a magnificent job performing, but it was Pagnia who struck me with her powerful voice. There is something about the way that she embraces each word within her lyrics and layers a story behind each song that she writes. When she was describing the story behind her song “Txoj Phuam Txoom Suab” (a piece, worn during Hmong celebrations, that is a purple cloth wrapped onto a woman’s head), she explained that she was inspired by a video of a mother dressing her daughter in Hmong traditional clothing for her wedding. In the video, there were sisters, aunts, and grandmothers all crowding around and watching quietly. The mother and daughter were in tears, but there was silence. Not a single word was spoken in the clip. Pagnia captured the words that were not said, because it was important to her to create music that moves people through expressing how loved ones feel toward each other. Her lyrics in this song are emotional, honest, and meaningful. The way she uses her lyrics to connect with her audience is amazing, but her lyrics were not the only thing that kept me so interested. The way that Pagnia holds her posture when she speaks shows confidence and maturity. She illustrates her charisma through her creativity, and no matter how successful she becomes, she shows that there is always room to grow.

In my opinion, Pagnia is a great role model for many Hmong American women. In the past when the Hmong people were still living in Laos, adhering to cultural traditions kept women from receiving educational and professional career opportunities. Often times, women were cast into the shadows of the men in their lives, and sometimes their only duty was to serve and respect their men and in-laws. But, now that many of these women are living in America, they have the chance to seek an education and profession. Women are given a voice and the strength to share their own opinions. For Pagnia, she is an inspirational model. Her successful singing career has encouraged me and many young Hmong women to strive for our goals, dreams, and passions.

Pagnia has proven to be a very empowering Hmong American woman for herself and her community. When I look at her, I see potential, strength, and success in myself.

Bao Nhia is a member of the Hmong American Student Association and participates as part of their dance crew, RePlay. She also serves on the MSC Programming Board’s Heritage and Awareness Month Committee. 

Weekend Job Board: April 20

Common Wealth Management Team and the Southwest Madison Housing Partnership Advisory Board seeks a Housing Community Organizer. This is a full time position dedicated to creating a Housing Resource Center (HRC) that will serve as an information center for vacancies, landlord information, social service resources, financial assistance. Another important responsibility of this position is focused on grassroots community organizing in the areas of poverty, homelessness, and housing in Southwest Madison. The ultimate goal is to empower residents and other stakeholders in the creation of a less mobile, more energized community.  Applications are due on May 31. See more details and download the application online.

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NBC15 News in Madison is searching for a weekend sports anchor/reporter to produce on-air and online content about high school athletics, the Wisconsin Badgers, and the Green Bay Packers. Must understand multiple news platforms. Send a resume and link of work to cgegg@nbc15.com or a resume and non-returnable DVD to 615 Forward Drive, Madison, WI 53711. Continue reading

Restoring Power Collectively to End Domestic and Sexual Violence: Interview with Kabzuag Vaj

Freedom Inc engages low-to-no income communities of color and works to end violence against women, gender non-conforming, and youth by promoting healthier living, especially in African American and Southeast Asian populations in Dane County.  The organization creates new definitions and solutions to empower community members as agents of change and inspires and restores power to those most affected by violence through leadership development and community organizing.

Cynthia Lin, Social Justice Educator at the MSC, sat down with Freedom Inc’s Founder and Co-Executive Director, Kabzuag Vaj, to talk about how the organization addresses root causes of violence and builds across communities of color towards collective liberation.

Cynthia: Tell us a little bit about your background and how it led you to start Freedom, Inc?

Kabzuag: Born at the end of the Secret War in Laos (Vietnam War) under circumstances of famine, death, and despair, I was never meant to survive. Because I was never meant to be here, I have been fighting to let people know I am here.

Growing up, I saw how women and girls were treated unfairly.  I saw how my mother and aunts would cook all day just to set their food on the table for my male family members to eat first, leaving the leftovers for the women and children.  As a baby girl, medicine was not given to me willingly.  As a teen, my brothers were allowed to control and discipline me.  As a young woman, I was controlled by my husband and my family.  From a young age, I vowed to create a new world—one in which I wanted to live in, one in which my sisters, mothers, and aunties wanted to live in.

Twelve years ago, when I was 24, I began noticing more and more younger girls dropping out of high school, hanging around in neighborhood parking lots, having trouble finding or keeping jobs.  I created informal safe spaces for youth to gather, talk about issues in their daily lives, and build opportunities for popular education. From there, I worked with other women my age to lead weekly community organizing training and skill-building workshops for 15- to 22-year-old Hmong and Southeast Asian youth, on topics of violence against women, racism/racial profiling, economic justice, and immigration and deportation. That’s where Asian Freedom Project began, and we sustained these programs over three years.

Through my involvement in domestic violence work, I was offered funding to start an anti-violence organization in Madison, and that is when the seed of Asian Freedom Project became Freedom Inc.

C: How does Freedom Inc. mobilize communities of color and low-income communities around social issues?

K: At Freedom Inc, we work to end violence against women, gender non-conforming folks, and young folks, to promote healthier living.  We organize around the root causes of violence, creating new definitions and solutions, and empowering all community members as agents of change. Our vision for ending violence is to inspire and restore power of those most affected through leadership development and community organizing, in ways that are language-, gender, generation-, and culture-specific to women, gender non-conforming, and youth, in African American and Southeast Asian families.  Restoring this power brings about deep social, political, cultural, and economic change. Through Freedom Inc, we have worked with hundreds of women and children as well as build a non-profit that has a collective model where people most affected share power and lead the vision of the organization. Continue reading

Weekend Job Board: April 13

 UW-Madison Housing: 

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